Posts tagged christmas
From Nonna's Kitchen: Abuela Evelyn’s Pasteles

A true Puerto Rican girl - my friend Iris loves spending time with her mamma Evelyn.  She is very proud of her heritage and really enjoys eating the food of her youth.  I was really touched when Iris and Evelyn showed up to my house to teach me how to make their most cherished dish, Pasteles.

Pasteles are very important in Puerto Rican culture.  Served at the holidays with rice, beans and tostones, they are a labor of love.  The exterior (masa) is made from unripe, green bananas.  You have to grate each one on a box grater to get a fine pudding like consistency.   The abuelas never complain, but it is labor intensive!  The filling is a delicious blend of pork and traditional Puerto Rican spices and ingredients like pimentos and olives.  The achiote oil gives it a beautiful red hue and fills the entire kitchen with a very Latin aroma. 

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From Nonna's Kitchen: Mimi Jo's Crispy Potato Latkes

For Christmas, there are a host of foods I make as an Italian and also as a Catholic that represent and honor our traditions of celebration.  For Chanukah, Jewish people serve a number of dishes.  One very popular side dish is potato latkes.  My amazingly talented website designer, Jen was generous enough to offer up her mom JoAnn as a great resource.  JoAnn was a caterer for many years on Long Island.  A true entrepreneur, she started a baking business with her friend and grew a full scale catering company from her home kitchen. As JoAnn explained, Chanukah is a time to honor the oil that burned for eight days.  So, traditionally, Jewish people will serve foods cooked in oil.  Potato latkes are a small cake of potato and onion fried in oil and served with sour cream and apple sauce.  Since I have never met a potato I didn’t like, I knew I was in for a treat.

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